Banjul, The Gambia

Banjul, The Gambia

Okay.  Thats not really true.  But I definitely could have.  I mean, It looks like there’s only around 30 of them in the picture.  Anyway,  I was looking for articles on globalization in the database LexisNexus, and I came across this interesting one called Globalization and Culture by Sanna Jawara.  It was an article written in The Daily Observer.  I had never heard of the paper before; I think thats because it is from Banjul, The Gambia.  I was unfamiliar with the country, so for those of you who don’t know, The Gambia is a small nation that borders Senegal in Northwestern Africa.

Jawara talked about the dichotomy that globalization represents for her country.  On one end of the spectrum, the author acknowledges the benefits of “computers, sophisticated laptops, micro phones, mobiles phones, wireless internet connections, etc.”.  Now for us, these might seem like commodities.  If the local cafè doesn’t have wifi, it seems like a time warp back to the middle ages.  But  for other places around the world, these are truly novel technologies.  These things change the way that people in places like Banjul do things and they change what people think is possible.  However despite all the good that globalization can bring, Jawara is also quick to point out its drawbacks.

She highlights the acute attitudinal change of The Gambian youth as one of its biggest problems.  She claims that the way they look at national development, welfare of the family, and the community at large have taken a turn for the worse.  The changes are not only on the ideological side, but also on the physical side as well.  Jawara says “The short skirts, high shoes and other unusual forms of dresses expose our bodies to the hazards of our immediate environment”.

So like most things, globalization has both its pros and cons.  For The Gambia, I believe that the good outweighs the bad.  If globalization can bring an advancement in fields like education and medicine through new technology, you would be hard pressed to find someone who was against such changes.  And while I understand that preserving tradition and culture is extremely important, maybe changing some of those views isn’t the worst thing that can happen.  A lot of times, people reject change not because it is worse than what already exists, but simply because it is different.

Finally, the article got me thinking about something else.  It has nothing to do with what was written in the piece, or the points that Jawara introduced.  Instead, I am fascinated by the opportunities that globalization has afforded us living in the United States.  Now, to be clear, I am not talking about new technologies.  Everything that The Gambia has was borrowed from Western culture and innovation.  What I am talking about though, is information.  The article that I read today was written by someone who lives in Northwestern Africa.  Globalization not only promotes the trade of goods between countries, but also of information.  I had never even heard of The Gambia before, and now I am writing a post about how they feel about globalization.  I think a lot of times, people tend to think of globalization as bringing much needed advancements to struggling nations.  But the fact that I was able to learn something about a city so far away, and so small that I can count the number of streets it has on google maps proves that the more technologically advanced cultures are not the only ones that provide utility in these global relationships.

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2 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    There is no better time to be living if you are a fan of easy access to information.

    I was bemused by “hazards of the environment” one gets exposed to by wearing short skirts… would that hazard be men?

    Globalization here has two dimensions. One is the technological network. The second is the trade flows to places like The Gambia. However, the elites in places like The Gambia could probably always get the pretty baubles and doo-dads of the imperial nations. The theory of neo-liberal globalization is that it would lead to a broader prosperity in nations that participate, a prosperity that would allow a middle class to emerge. I wonder if that is happening in The Gambia.

  2. […] Zach (I counted all the Streets in Banjul on Google Maps): Made us want to read on! […]

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